A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Going after Book Reviews


It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side.

Today's topic addresses the need to go after book reviews. Why do you have to go after them? Why not just let them come to you? (And maybe we should talk a little more again about why you need reviews.)

  • Why you need reviews
    • credibility, especially if this is your first book, you have a weak platform, and/or your name is unknown in the genre and field in which you are writing
    • getting the word out -- word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising, but reviews generally let the brains associated with those mouths know about the existence of the book
    • quotes for promoting the book, including for the book description on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites
    • visibility in a crowded marketplace
    • introduction to readers
  • Letting reviewers and reviews come to you
    • They don't come in hordes: in a crowded marketplace, books of authors with weak or no platforms are just not visible enough to garner reviews.
    • If reviewers do find your book, it can take some time for them to do so.
  • Going after reviews
    • Ask fellow authors to write a review
    • On your website, offer a free book for a review.
    • Contact some of the more prolific reviewers on Amazon and see if they would be willing to review your book for a free copy.
    • Check out bloggers in your field; some routinely review books; others might be interested in reviewing a book that intersects with a column they just wrote.
    • Check out the free sources for reviews: Goodreads, Readers' Favorite, MidWest Book Review, Foreword Reviews (pre-publication), Library Journal (pre-publication), Booklife (self-published books), Kirkus (pre-publication), Library Thing (note: these are amateur reviewers for the most part and reviews can come across as unprofessional; also, although LT promises that all books sent out will be reviewed, that does not happen, in our experience--so it may not be worth the effort and cost), local media, professional journals in your field, lay magazines on your topic, and, in order to make this list impossibly long, click HERE to get a long list.
    • Paid reviews exist; we recommend avoiding them -- everyone knows that they are paid, and that often taints them in the mind of the person doing the review; however, there are some inexpensive reviews that simply cover their expenses, and those we consider differently: Literary Titan and US Review of Books charge minimal fees and provide honest book reviews, in our experience. 

The bottom line is that all authors need reviews for credibility and promotion. Unfortunately, reviews don't just walk in the door or appear suddenly in a newspaper. Authors have to actively seek them out in many, if not most cases.

Want to read more about book reviews from this blog? Click HERE

Lesson for today's Tuesday talk: Get the review. Do the research, send out the queries, and chew on getting more and more reviews like a dog chewing on a bone. They really matter.

 Read more posts about publishing HERE.

The Tuesday talks reflect real discussions between the management of MSI Press LLC and our own authors or those would-be authors who come through our doors but don't make the cut--yet. If you have a topic you would like to see addressed, leave the question in the comment section. Chances are, in our 18 years of publishing first-time and experiences authors, we have had a conversation with one of our authors that we can share with you.


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